What is IVF?

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3 fertility expert(s) answered this question

Answer from: Raúl Olivares, MD

Gynaecologist, Medical Director & Owner Barcelona IVF
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IVF is a treatment in which we’re going to obtain the eggs and inseminate them with a partner’s or donor’s sperm to create embryos. These embryos are going to be later cultured for 5 days until they reach the so-called blastocyst stage. Then we’re going to choose which embryos are going to be transferred and which ones should be frozen.

With regard to the indications, there are many indications to do IVF. IVF is an elective technique for patients with tube problems, patients with endometriosis, patients in which there is a problem with the egg quality because IVF is the only where we can really assess the quality of the eggs and also, of course, in those cases where there is a severe male factor and in which IUI, cannot be done.

It’s important to say that IVF, on top of being probably, the most common treatment in assisted reproduction, can also work as a diagnostic tool. As I said before, it is the only way to assess that certain processes can be done properly, like the egg quality, percentage of fertilization, how many embryos become blastocysts, and their quality. Sometimes, it’s not just that we want the patient to get pregnant, but what also is very important is the information we gather from this treatment to decide how we must proceed later.

Answer from: Harry Karpouzis, MD, MRCOG, DIUE

Gynaecologist, Founder & Scientific Director IVF Pelargos Fertility Group
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IVF stands for in vitro fertilization, which actually means a fertilized egg and sperm outside the body, in special culture in the laboratory. 

Couples that need IVF are usually couples that the woman has problems with her tubes, which make spontaneous fertilization very difficult. Women who have poor ovarian reserve usually, at the age of more than 40, but of course, this can happen even in younger women. Women have ovulatory problems, which means problems with the ovulation that persist and are not leading to pregnancy with other ways of provoking ovulation. 

Women and men, couples with unexplained infertility, which is infertility that cannot be explained by any reason. Usually, the solution for these couples is IVF. The best success rates are happening with IVF. Endometriosis and problems with the sperm, when the sperm is very low, and in which case, we usually use a variation of IVF, which is called ICSI. 

Answer from: Elias Tsakos, MD, FRCOG

Gynaecologist, Medical Director EmbryoClinic
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IVF is a procedure in which we retrieve the eggs of a woman, and at the same time, we use the sperm of a man if the woman has a partner or the sperm from a donor sperm bank if the woman doesn’t have a partner or if the partner’s sperm is defective.

We use in vitro fertilization in the laboratory, which means that we facilitate the embryo with the egg fertilization either using the standard IVF procedure or using inter cytoplasmic sperm injection procedure. The fertilization itself is happening outside the woman’s body, but of course, it is normal fertilization and normal growth of the embryo,  we perform the embryo transfer procedure. It is a very straightforward procedure in which the embryo or the embryos are inserted into the woman’s uterus with a very fine catheter.  Therefore, we are maximizing the chances of pregnancy.

About this question:

What is the medical definition of IVF and who are patients qualifying for this technique?

IVF is one of the more widely known types of assisted reproductive technology (ART). How does In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) work? What are the chances of getting pregnant with IVF? How to prepare for IVF and are there any risks involved?

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